When a disaster strikes, American Red Cross volunteers pack their bags and head to where they can help those in need.
With the devastating Louisiana floods, the Red Cross by the end of the week will have around 1,000 volunteers from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico helping in the recovery.
In the Western Missouri Region, 28 volunteers by Wednesday had left to help out in Louisiana. That includes 17 from the Southern Missouri Chapter, based in Springfield; six from the Greater Kansas City Chapter; and five from the Northwest Missouri Chapter based in St. Joseph.
The current flooding is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy. Officials are estimating that more than 40,000 homes have been damaged as more than 6.9 trillion gallons of rain deluged Louisiana this week, marking the second time in five month that Louisiana has seen more than 24 inches of rain during a single storm.
The flooding danger is not over. More rain is possible, and flood waters are moving down river, which causes additional damage.
On Tuesday night, more than 7,000 people still were seeking refuge in more than 34 Red Cross and community shelters. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.
The Red Cross and partners have served nearly 100,000 meals and snacks since the onset of the flooding.
Residents of the affected areas can connect with their loved ones by using the “I’m Safe” button on the free Red Cross Emergency App. It can be found in the app store on mobile devices by searching for “American Red Cross” or going to www.redcross.org/apps.
People also can visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and private way that friends and family connect. The site also allows people to update their status on Facebook and Twitter.
The Red Cross urgently needs the public to join in supporting Louisiana by making a financial donation by visiting www.redcross.org; calling 1-1800-RED CROSS; or texting LAFLOOD to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
If you would like to become a Red Cross volunteer, visit www.redcross.org and find out more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.